Book Review: The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

Published by Orbit on August 18, 2016

Series: The Broken Earth, #2

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, post-apocalyptic

Format & Length: paperback, 410

Source: purchased

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THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

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Book Review: The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Published by Orbit on August 4, 2015

Series: The Broken Earth, #1

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, post-apocalyptic

Format & Length: paperback, 468

Source: purchased

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THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.

Three terrible things happen in a single day.

Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.

She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

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Audiobook Review: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Published by Random House Audio on September 9, 2014

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, post-apocalyptic, science fiction

Format & Length: audiobook, 10:41:02

Source: library

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2014 National Book Award Finalist

A New York Times Bestseller

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek:“Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

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Book Review: Pacific Fire, by Greg Van Eekhout

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Pacific Fire by Greg Van Eekhout

Published by Tor Books on January 27, 2015

Series: Daniel Blackland, #2

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: hardcover, 336

Source: purchased

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Pacific Fire: Another thrilling ride through Greg van Eekhout’s wildly imaginative world of California Bones, featuring entertaining new characters and a dangerous magical plot unfolding in Los Angeles.

I’m Sam. I’m just this guy.

Okay, yeah, I’m a golem created from the substance of his own magic by the late Hierarch of Southern California. With a lot of work, I might be able to wield magic myself. I kind of doubt it, though. Not like Daniel Blackland can.

Daniel’s the reason the Hierarch’s gone and I’m still alive. He’s also the reason I’ve lived my entire life on the run. Ten years of never, ever going back to Los Angeles. Daniel’s determined to protect me. To teach me.

But it gets old. I’ve got nobody but Daniel. I’ll never do anything normal. Like attend school. Or date a girl.

Now it’s worse. Because things are happening back in LA. Very bad people are building a Pacific firedrake, a kind of ultimate weapon of mass magical destruction. Daniel seemed to think only he could stop them. Now Daniel’s been hurt. I managed to get us to the place run by the Emmas. (Many of them. All named Emma. It’s a long story.) They seem to be healing him, but he isn’t going anyplace soon.

Do I even have a reason for existing, if it isn’t to prevent this firedrake from happening? I’m good at escaping from things. Now I’ve escaped from Daniel and the Emmas, and I’m on my way to LA.

This may be the worst idea I ever had.

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Book Review: Win, by Vera Nazarian

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Win by Vera Nazarian

Published by Norilana Books on July 11, 2017

Series: The Atlantis Grail, #3

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, romance, science fiction, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 949

Source: purchased

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The Games are Forever!
It’s one thing to Qualify and Compete…
Now she must Win.

Gwen Lark, nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl, is among the lucky ones. She’s one of several million teenage refugees to escape the extinction-level asteroid barreling towards Earth and reach the ancient colony planet of Atlantis.

But Atlantis is a strange new world with higher gravity and a blazing white sun, where nothing is as expected. The new arrivals from Earth will now belong to the majority class of non-citizens who face a lifetime of hard work and limited rights.

To make matters worse, Gwen’s rare and powerful talent […] is viewed as a potential weapon to be exploited by the Imperator, as well as a threat to the Kassiopei Imperial Dynasty and its uncompromising control over the people of Atlantis.

A last-minute heartbreak prior to arrival turns to joy, when Gwen receives a declaration of love from an unexpected source. The Wedding date is set, but before she can be joined with her true love, she is forced to compete in the brutal and deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail to save herself, her family, friends, and everything she cares about. Once again, her intelligence, quick thinking skills, resilience, and creativity are challenged to the breaking point.

The Games are monumental, intricate, lethal . . . and the Games are Forever.

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Book Review: California Bones, by Greg Van Eekhout

California Bones, by Greg Van Eekhout

California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout

Published by Tor Books on June 10, 2014

Series: Daniel Blackland, #1

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: hardcover, 304

Source: purchased

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When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian.

When Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones.

Now, years later, Daniel is a petty thief with a forged identity. Hiding amid the crowds in Los Angeles—the capital of the Kingdom of Southern California—Daniel is trying to go straight. But his crime-boss uncle has a heist he wants Daniel to perform: break into the Hierarch’s storehouse of magical artifacts and retrieve Sebastian’s sword, an object of untold power.

For this dangerous mission, Daniel will need a team he can rely on, so he brings in his closest friends from his years in the criminal world. There’s Moth, who can take a bullet and heal in mere minutes. Jo Alverado, illusionist. The multitalented Cassandra, Daniel’s ex. And, new to them all, the enigmatic, knowledgeable Emma, with her British accent and her own grudge against the powers-that-be. The stakes are high, and the stage is set for a showdown that might just break the magic that protects a long-corrupt regime.

Extravagant and yet moving, Greg van Eekhout’s California Bonesis an epic adventure set in a city of canals and secrets and casual brutality–different from the world we know, yet familiar and true.

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Book Review: Lux and Lies, by Meg Collett

Lux and Lies, by Meg Collett

Lux and Lies by Meg Collett

Published by Meg Collett on May 2, 2017

Series: Whitebird Chronicles, #1

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, science fiction, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 256

Source: Xpresso Book tours

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Mr. Robot meets UnReal in a story of celebrities and anarchists, reality shows and evil corporations, romance and self-discovery.

Nineteen-year-old Wren Iver is nothing more than a dying girl with cancer, but when megastar Sloan Lux dies right before filming starts on the year’s most anticipated reality show, producers scramble to secretly replace her—with Wren. She’s swept into Hollywood and promised a cure by VidaCorp, the nation’s richest pharmaceutical company, for simply replacing Lux. It’s a deal Wren can’t refuse.

The decision could get her killed, because she isn’t the only cast member with ulterior motives.

The Whitebirds, a social anarchist group, has infiltrated the show, and they’ll stop at nothing to use Sloane Lux’s fame to derail VidaCorp’s efforts to legalize their controversial, life-changing drug—a drug that might kill more people than it saves. Caught in the middle of a game between a powerful corporation and ruthless anarchist group, Wren will do anything to survive.

Will Wren secure the drug she needs to survive, or will she become another casualty in the anarchists’ fight against VidaCorp?

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Book Review: Son, by Lois Lowry

Son, by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on October 2, 2012

Series: The Giver, #4

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 225

Source: library

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They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.

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Book Review: Messenger, by Lois Lowry

Messenger, by Lois Lowry

Messenger by Lois Lowry

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on April 26, 2004

Series: The Giver, #3

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 169

Source: library

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Strange changes are taking place in Village. Once a utopian community that prided itself on its welcome to new strangers, Village will soon be closed to all outsiders. As one of the few people able to travel through the dangerous Forest, Matty must deliver the message of Village’s closing and try to convince Seer’s daughter to return with him before it’s too late. But Forest has become hostile to Matty as well, and he must risk everything to fight his way through it, armed only with an emerging power he cannot yet explain or understand.

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Book Review: Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry

Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on September 25, 2000

Series: The Giver, #2

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 225

Source: library

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Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever.
As she did in THE GIVER, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.

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